If you’re a Texan, you may have questions about how to get a gun license in Texas. Because Texas’ gun laws are less restrictive than most other states, you won’t need to register the gun. You don’t need a permit to purchase or own a gun.
Texas is considered a shall issue state. The laws regulate that only persons 18 years old or older may carry firearms. The laws of Texas don’t regulate firearms’ possession of any person – as long as the owner doesn’t have a prior criminal record.
- You don’t need a permit to buy a rifle, shotgun, ammunition, or firearm components in the state of Texas.
- You must be at least 18 years old and a resident of Texas to purchase these items.
- Texas law distinguishes long guns from handguns.
Carrying Long Guns in Texas
Texas doesn’t require gun owners to have a license to carry a long gun, i.e. a shot gun or rifle, in the owner’s motor vehicle.
Generally speaking, the long gun owner should keep the rifle or shot gun out of public view.
Carrying Handguns in Texas
Texas doesn’t require the handgun owner to have a handgun license for him or her to carry the loaded firearm in a watercraft or motor vehicle as long as it’s kept under the individual’s control.
Texas law prohibits the owner’s intentional, knowing, or reckless carriage of the handgun in plain view in a watercraft or motor vehicle unless he or she has a handgun license (to carry in a belt or shoulder holster).
If you want to carry a handgun on your person or in your vehicle in Texas, you may do so with a concealed handgun license–as long as the firearm isn’t visible to members of the general public.
Review the specifics of how to get a gun license in Texas:
Step 1. Consider Your Eligibility
Questions about how to get a gun license in Texas should begin with your eligibility. You must:
- Reside in Texas and be at least 21 years old if purchasing from a federally-licensed gun dealer.
- Meet state and federal requirements regarding handgun possession.
Disqualification is possible if you’ve got a criminal record (Class A misdemeanor that involved the individual’s household or family, or felony convictions), psychological diagnoses, or restraining orders (issued under the Code of Criminal Procedure or the Family Code).
Part-time Texas residents and members of the military may qualify.
Step 2. Take a Course
- Locate a Texas Department of Public Safety instructor. He or she will be certified by DPS.
- Group or private instruction is available.
- Contact TxDPS at 512-424-200 for their list of qualified instructors in your area.
Take a course to qualify for licensure. Courses cover how to safely store and use your firearm. The average course costs $100.
Step 3. Gather the Necessary Documents
Questions about how to get a gun license in Texas involve gathering the proper paperwork:
- Bring a valid ID, e.g. a Texas driver’s license or other government-issued identification.
- Provide proof of residency, e.g. a voter registration card or utility bill with your address on it.
- Show your valid license or government-issued ID from another state if you’re moving to Texas.
Step 4. Submit an Application to the Texas Department of Public Safety
Fill out your application at the TxDPS or pick up a copy of the application at a Texas gun seller, e.g. a qualified sporting goods store.
Provide supporting materials with your application to TxDPS.
Step 5. Pay the Application Fee
- Pay $140 to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
- Seniors and low-income residents pay $70. Visit the TxDPS website to learn about how to qualify as a low-income resident.
- Certain qualifying persons, e.g. elected prosecutors, may qualify for a free license.
Step 6. Wait for Your License
If TxDPS accepts your application, it will send the new concealed handgun license to you within 60 days. You’re also required to renew the license every four years. The license permits the owner of handguns to carry an unlimited amount, as long as he or she conceals them. Texas law restricts the license holder from carrying a handgun in certain places, e.g. court offices or schools.
How to Get a Gun License in Texas
The Texas State Constitutional Provision concerning gun laws is found in Article 1, Section 23:
Every citizen shall have the right to keep and bear arms in the lawful defense of himself or the state; but the Legislature shall have the power, by law, to regulate the wearing of arms, with a view to prevent crime.
Gun owners in Texas:
- Don’t need a permit to buy long guns or hand guns.
- Don’t need to register their long guns or hand guns.
- Don’t need a license to own long guns or hand guns.
- Don’t need a permit to carry long guns – but do need a permit to openly carry handguns.
- Are partially banned from carrying firearms in restaurants
Understand that a Texas concealed carry license might not be valid in another state. If you’re traveling outside of Texas, check that state’s concealed weapons laws.
Know that, when the state of Texas grants a concealed weapons license, it’s a matter of public record.